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MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. By bringing NATO’s infrastructures closers to Russia’s borders the West is literally forcing Russia into taking military-technical measures for repelling a hypothetical act of aggression, polled experts have told TASS.
Shortly after reports about Washington’s plans for deploying 1,200 tanks, armored personnel carriers and other military vehicles organic to a force of 5,000 officers and men the United States on Monday declared it had plans for redeploying to Europe a contingent of fifth generation fighter jets F-22 Raptor. Speaking at the 51th international aerospace show at Le Bourget the Secretary of the US Air Force, Deborah Lee James, said that was necessary to show muscle to Russia. Earlier, the United States stepped up the air patrolling of the Baltic Sea and deployed B-2 and B-52 bombers in Britain.
The director of the Military and Political Studies Centre at the Moscow state institute of international relations MGIMO, Aleksey Podberyozkin, believes that measures to build up NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe has already gone beyond the bounds of routine personnel training to have acquired extraordinary dimensions. "Unlike some experts, who see nothing unusual about NATO’s latest actions, I believe that the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructures towards Russia’s borders may herald preparations for an armed conflict. At the moment hostilities are underway in the southeast of Ukraine, where the frontline is one thousand kilometers long. If the United States’ logic is to be followed, the frontline may be two thousand kilometers and even two and a half thousand kilometers long," Podberyozkin said.
"The closer the ammunition depots, fuel tank farms and communication nodes are to Russia’s borders, the higher the risk of a conventional war, which may eventually grow into a nuclear one. Thousands of pieces of heavy weapons are being moved to Eastern Europe. That’s not just alarming. It is very serious. F-22 fighters, if moved to Eastern Europe, will have the capability of getting far inside Russian airspace. Auxiliary airfields will be created capable of accommodating five to fifty jets. It is not quantity, but quality that determines the combat potential of Air Force units. The F-22 is the latest generation fighter," Podberyozkin said.
In a situation like this Russia will have no option left other than to build up its own infrastructures in the Western Military District, to redeploy a tank brigade or division there and to relocate the entire logistics system heavy weapons require. It is not ruled out that on its Western borders Russia will have to deploy weapons with a penetration depth of 100, 200 or 300 kilometers, including Iskander tactical systems and air and artillery missiles. Any such weapon can be armed with various types of warheads, including nuclear ones, although military officials prefer not to say this aloud."
The president of the Academy of Geo-Political Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, says the Russian army has a total strength of about 800,000 men, while the combined forces of NATO number 2.1 million. "By technical parameters the Russian armed forces are inferior to those of the North Atlantic Alliance by a factor of 5-7," Sivkov said.
In a situation like this the sole effective measure to counter NATO’s threats will be to fast-track the production of the necessary amount of Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles capable of effectively penetrating missile defenses and to deploy these systems along the Western border. The latest actions by the United States and NATO in Eastern Europe leave Russia no other choice," Sivkov said.
TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors